Hillary Clinton, unbelievably to many, hasn’t ruled out a bid for president in 2020.
The Democratic Party’s losing nominee in 2016 is sending signals that she still wants to be president, although some who are close to her say people are reading too much into her recent comments on the subject.
“Simmer down!” former Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill tweeted Monday about the rising speculation of another presidential bid.
The latest attention — and you know how the Clintons hate attention — came during an interview Friday night in New York City. Journalist Kara Swisher asked Mrs. Clinton whether she wants to run in 2020.
“No, no,” Mrs. Clinton replied.
Ms. Swisher noted to her that she hesitated.
“Well, I’d like to be president,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I think, hopefully, when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in January of 2021, there’s going to be so much work to be done.”
She said because of President Trump’s actions, other countries “have no idea what the United States stands for.”
“So the work would be work that I feel very well prepared for having been at the Senate for eight years, having been a diplomat in the State Department, and it’s just going to be a lot of heavy lifting,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Ms. Swisher asked, “Are you going to be doing any of that lifting?”
“Oh I have no idea,” Mrs. Clinton replied. “I’m not even going to even think about it ‘til we get through this Nov. 6 election about what’s going to happen after that, but I’m going to everything in my power to make sure we have a Democrat in the White House come January of 2021.”
Ms. Swisher later said on Twitter, “While it perhaps sounded like @HillaryClinton refused to rule it out, my take is she was basically implying she wishes she were president but doesn’t relish running again.”
Mr. Merrill said of Mrs. Clinton, “she said she would decide who to support, not whether to run.”
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and former political director for President George W. Bush, said he believes Mrs. Clinton “is clearly making a play.”
“Why is she doing this tour?” he asked, referring to a 13-arena tour that Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have scheduled through 2019. “Why is she tweeting at Donald Trump and trolling him? Either that, or she just cannot let go of the spotlight.”
He added, “If she can’t let go of the spotlight, that’s no good for these other [potential Democratic candidates], either, because it keeps the speculation going. They’re not exactly working towards one plan.”
Mrs. Clinton, who has an active Twitter account, hasn’t sought to correct any misperceptions about her plans for 2020. On Monday she announced her endorsement of 19 progressive candidates for state and local offices across the country.
“Our democracy is in crisis, but I’m optimistic that through building a bench of progressive leaders who put their communities and values first, we will put ourselves back on the path to a fairer, more inclusive America. That’s why this election could not be more critical to our collective future,” she said in a statement.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and close ally of the Clintons, said Monday he’s “confident” that Mrs. Clinton won’t run again in 2020.
“It’s hard for Hillary. She got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump did in the last presidential election,” Mr. McAuliffe, also a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said on MSNBC. “But I feel confident in saying I think Hillary is never going to be on the ballot again, I think she is done running for elected office. She’s going to be out helping candidates. But I feel very confident in saying she’s not going to run for president.”
During her interview on Friday, Mrs. Clinton also compared Mr. Trump with the late fascist dictator Benito Mussolini of Italy, citing a passage in a book by former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
She called Mussolini “a demagogue, an authoritarian who inflamed the passions of thugs on the street, who beat up, intimidated, and eventually murdered political opponents, members of the press and the like.”
“Mussolini says [in the book], ‘When you pluck a chicken feather by feather, nobody notices,’” Mrs. Clinton recounted. “Well, I think we now notice. I mean, how can we not notice?”
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